Show you care, be ASD aware

A few of the learners with autism working at their stations. Photo: Alanicka Lotriet.

It affects about two percent of our population. It may affect the way your child responds to others and communicates his/ her needs. It may make your child upset when things change around him/ her. Your child may also be over-sensitive or under-reactive to certain sights, sounds, textures and tastes.

This is autism. Autism is a life-long complex condition that affects a child’s brain growth, development and functioning. If a person has never known a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) it is more likely that the person won’t ever be aware of what it really is.

Brendan Roos playing with sand. Photo: Alanicka Lotriet.

ASD consists of brain-based, neurological conditions that have more to do with biology than with psychology. No two people with ASD are affected in the same way. The disorder is usually diagnosed by the time a child is three years old.

This disorder is found in every country, ethnic group and socio-economic class and is diagnosed four times as often in boys than in girls.

Ruben Venter experimenting with some water. Photo: Alanicka Lotriet.

According to Michelle van Zyl, Deputy Principal of Rant-en-Dal School for Autism, not many people are aware there is such a school for these children with special needs.

“Approximately two years ago our school shifted from a behavioral problem clinic school to an autistic school, and I don’t think a lot of people are aware of this,” she explained.

Koketso Shole adding some colour to a car. Photo: Alanicka Lotriet.

This government school is the only school for autism in the area and currently accommodates 145 learners between the ages of four and 18 years old. They have a school-based support team together with trained educators, including a speech therapist, occupational therapist, nurse and social worker.

“Every child has the right to education – that’s why we are determined to provide these learners with the best possible education though dedicated teachers,” Michelle said.

Koketso Shole adding some colour to a car. Photo: Alanicka Lotriet.

Because they are a government school, it’s not easy to accumulate the funds for most necessities, such as a school bus. This is why they will be hosting a Spring Market on 14 October from 9am at at the school, 94 Sterkfontein Road, Krugersdorp.

For more information, feel free to contact Michelle on 084 526 5000 or 011 665 1033.

“This market will be held in order to accumulate some funds for a school bus, as well as creating awareness about autism in the community,” she explained.

Atlegang Mokete colouring in. Photo: Alanicka Lotriet.

“We are looking forward to spending some time with the community while creating some awareness, and we trust the children will enjoy it just as much,” she concluded.

Do you perhaps have more information pertaining to this story? Email us at [email protected] or phone us on 011 955 1130.

For free daily local news on the West Rand, also visit our sister websites: 

Randfontein Herald

Roodepoort Record

Get It Joburg West Magazine

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Alanicka Lotriet

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